Is Consistency The Secret Ingredient To Customer Satisfaction?
Consistency is the key to customer satisfaction. A study of 27,000 American consumers by McKinsey & Company has found that a consistent customer experience across the entire customer journey will increase customer satisfaction, build trust and boost loyalty.
Coauthors of Outside In: The Power of Putting Customers at the Center of Your Business, Harley Manning and Kerry Bodine, agree.
“Companies that want to produce a high-quality customer experience also need to routinely perform a set of sound, standard practices. These practices fall under six high-level disciplines: strategy, customer understanding, design, measurement, governance, and culture.” – Read more.
So if consistency is the key, how can you ensure you deliver a consistent customer experience?
How consistent customer experiences increases satisfaction
The research by McKinsey & Company found that companies need to focus on three key areas to ensure consistency:
1. Customer-journey consistency.
They authors of the study suggest that businesses need to have clear policies, rules and supporting mechanisms to ensure every interaction they have with a customer is consistent.
For example, a customer might first touch sales, then customer support, then an account manager.
The customer journey involves many touch points, you’re job is to ensure all of your team know the overall message you want to deliver. You can’t have half of your team offering a high level of service and the other half offering none.
2. Emotional consistency.
Trust is one of the biggest drivers of satisfaction and loyalty. The authors of the study found that customers, who had positive customer experience emotions, encompassed a feeling of trust.
For example, a customer might be blown head over heels by one of your team members – exceeding their expectations. The next minute, they might be given adequate service. Although the customer was happy with the adequate service, since the experience wasn’t the same as the first one, they could be left feeling unsatisfied.
This is where emotional consistency needs to be considered in your customer experience strategy. What level of service do you want to deliver to your customers? How do you plan on wowing them?
Whatever strategies, tactics and processes you put in place – ensure they are consistent right across all customer touch points.
3. Communication consistency.
What message are you sending your customers? How do you want them to view your company and your brand?
The study found that being consistent with your communication is a key factor in creating high customer satisfaction. It recommends you think about the promises you are making with your messaging,
For example, Southwest Airlines has built trust with customers through delivering a consistent brand message. They promise no-frills and low-cost – you know what to expect when booking with Southwest.
As a customer, you enter every interaction with expectations of what the product and service will be like. As a company, it’s your job to make sure the brand messaging that you communicate with customers is consistent.
The trouble really starts when your team is not on the same page. Marketing might be pushing one message, sales might be pushing another – if there is no consistency about what you are saying and how you are positioning yourself – the customer will be at risk of misinterpreting what to expect, and in turn, being unsatisfied with the experience.
Three reasons why you should invest in consistent customer experiences
Use the advice in this article to increase customer satisfaction by creating consistent experiences with your customers.
In conclusion, I want to leave you with three reasons why you should invest in consistency:
1. Consistent experiences mean you always meet expectations
You should always be striving to exceed customer expectations. A study by A. Parasuraman, Leonard L. Berry and Valarie A. Zeithaml found that there is a perceived expectation that every customer has when going into a business relationship. For example, a hotel customer thinks that when they pay more they expect more.
2. Consistent experiences build trust
Customers want to be dealing with the same people. This builds long term, strong relationships based on trust. These relationships translate to loyalty. Adam Feigenbaum from iCIMS suggests these tips to create a consistent experience that builds trust.
3. Consistent experiences show that you care
Showing that you care is one of the nine customer retention strategies that I’ve talked about in another blog post. In short, customers want to feel like you care about them. They want to feel like you have their best interests at heart and that you are trying to help them succeed at their job. By ensuring consistency, you in turn show that you care about how you engage and deliver service to customers.
Think about how you can improve consistency across the entire customer journey. Also think about the emotions your customers feel when dealing with you. Lastly, ensure your messaging is consistent and accurately represents what a customer can expect from your company and brand.